Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia: What To Know Before You Go

Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia: What To Know Before You Go

If you’re planning a road trip through Croatia, then chances are Plitvice Lakes National Park is high on your bucket list. This fairytale setting of aquamarine water, dazzling waterfalls, colorful dragonflies and scenic woodlands is one of Croatia’s most renowned tourist attractions—clearly for a good reason.     You’ll have to share the picture-perfect scenery with heaps of other visitors, (Plitvice Lakes National Park sees some 1.2 million tourists each year) but don’t let this deter you. Nearly every turn along the wooden trail is more beautiful than the last, revealing waterfalls of all shapes and sizes that plummet into sparkling, crystal-clear pools below.                                 If you’re ready for the ultimate trip to Plitvice Lakes National Park, here’s what to know before you go: Navigating Plitvice Lakes National Park   Plitvice Lakes National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site comprised of a series of 16 terraced lakes; the cascading lakes are grouped into the 12 upper lakes and four lower lakes, with some 90 waterfalls along the way. Convenient wooden walking trails make exploring the park simple and accessible. Avid hikers can opt to adventure further into the park along well-marked dirt paths.   You’ll want at least three hours to do Plitvice Lakes justice, though you’ll likely find that’s not quite enough to walk around both the lower and upper falls. We parked at Entrance 1, walked around the lower falls, then took the ferry to the upper falls where we walked a bit more before returning to Entrance 1 via the...
Exploring Portugal’s Mesmerizing Minho Region

Exploring Portugal’s Mesmerizing Minho Region

  Many travelers to Portugal only make it as far north as the lovely—but increasingly touristy—city of Porto. However, continue a bit farther, and you’ll arrive at Portugal’s mesmerizing Minho region. This often overlooked destination is characterized by lush mountains, rolling vineyards, charming towns and sweeping beaches.     Though our stay in the Minho was short, the spots we did visit were some of our favorite on our entire road trip. In fact, we added one city to our ongoing “I could live here list.” Whether you’re planning a similar road trip through Portugal or you’re just looking for a semi off-the-beaten-track spot for your next European adventure, here are a few things to love about the often overlooked Minho region:   Highlights of The Minho, Portugal From the birthplace of Portugal to the home of Vinho Verde to some of the country’s most verdant landscapes, the Minho region offers a little something for everyone. Here’s a look at our top picks: Guimarães     Considered the birthplace of Portugal, it was here that revered King D Alfonso Henriques was born and later declared Portugal’s independence. Visit the medieval Castle of Guimarães to see Alfonso’s birthplace, also the site of many key battles in Portugal’s early history.     While you’re there, you won’t want to miss the Historic Center of Guimarães, a UNESCO World Heritage Site revered for its beauty and preservation. We recommend grabbing lunch amongst the gothic buildings in the lovely Largo da Oliveira, then taking the time to amble through the many winding alleyways.     Guimarães is a favorite day trip from Porto,...
Our 5 Favorite Spots For A Summer Backpacking Trip

Our 5 Favorite Spots For A Summer Backpacking Trip

Summer is just around the corner, and for us, that means it’s time to start thinking about beautiful camping adventures. After all, what’s better than soaking in the long summer days outdoors, then whiling away the evening with good friends and a bonfire? We’ve camped on many of our travels around the world, and always come back totally rejuvenated—so long as we have comfy sleeping quarters. Knowing your high-quality travel gear is an absolute must. For example, there are tons of sleeping bags available, but before planning your summer trips, we recommend investing in a sleeping bag that is guaranteed to keep you cozy and comfortable. Learn more about the best sleeping bags for 2017 here. Now it’s time to choose your backpacking destination! Here are five of our personal favorites: 1. The Lofoten Islands We always say that the Lofoten Islands are one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever been. This Arctic paradise is located in the far north of Norway, and is where you’ll find staggering cliffs that tower over pristine blue water. It’s also an adventurer’s dream destination, with rock climbing, kayaking, hiking and more. Summer is by far the best time to enjoy the destination, and camping will ensure you stay close to the action while also fully soaking in the dramatic beauty of the islands. Pro Tip: You’re going to want a good backpacking tent that is easy to carry but will also keep you protected from the elements. Click here for some of the top tents on the market right now. 2. The Appalachian Trail We grew up in North Carolina, which meant...
How To Plan The Ultimate Trip To Iceland

How To Plan The Ultimate Trip To Iceland

Photo via Iceland.is  Spoiler Alert: We’re going back to Europe this summer! It’s no secret that we love traveling through Europe, and while we’ve done a pretty good job of covering ground there over the years, there’s always so much left to explore. And while we’ve been to Europe quite a few times, there’s one unique travel hack we have yet to take advantage of: the opportunity to add-on a free 7-day layover in Iceland.  In case you haven’t heard, IcelandAir offers passengers traveling from the US & Canada to one of 26 different European destinations the chance to have an extra-long layover—up to 7-days—in Iceland at no additional airfare charge. We’re hoping to take advantage of this opportunity to explore a new country since we’ll be heading to Europe anyway! Iceland has long been on our bucket list with many people saying it’s the most gorgeous place they’ve ever visited. As such, we’re already deep into planning mode (even though we have three new destinations in the 2017 lineup before we even think about Europe!) The ultimate consensus from fellow travelers is that we’ll want to have our own set of wheels to explore Iceland in depth. And as most of our readers know, we love a good road trip anyway! So, we’re planning to hire a car in Iceland to make the most of our time. We love having the freedom to stop and explore as we please, and with so many remote, must-visit attractions in Iceland, we can’t image another way to best experience the country. So far, here’s our list of the top seven attractions to include on our Iceland itinerary:   How...
White Water Rafting The Rio Pacuare, Costa Rica: An Epic Two-Day Adventure

White Water Rafting The Rio Pacuare, Costa Rica: An Epic Two-Day Adventure

It was 5:00 am on a Friday morning, and I was terrified. I was on my way to the Rios Tropicales operation center to begin a two-day white water rafting adventure down the Pacuare River—considered by National Geographic to be one of the best destinations for rafting in the world.     While normally this kind of travel experience would be right up my alley, this time around I had some hesitations…   Last time we went white water rafting, while I admittedly had a blast, there was also a bit of a scare. Basically, rocks shifted in the river, our raft unexpectedly flipped and everyone got catapulted from their seats. I somehow ended up underneath the raft, in the water, pinned near a rock. When Dan came up and saw everyone from our raft floating down the river except for me, he immediately came and lifted the raft off me. It all happened extremely quickly and thankfully without injury, but it was enough to put me on edge the rest of the way. Particularly as it had been Dan (not our guides) who noticed I was missing from the group (and likely underwater.)   This time around, I would be setting out for our white water rafting adventure with a different (and extremely reputable) tour agency, as well as our friends My Tan Feet. However, Dan wasn’t coming along for this one. As a result, I was a bit on edge about the entire idea of white water rafting down world-renowned rapids that very well could send me flailing into the water once more—without the very person who...